Forget the nothingburger that James O’Keefe shared with Sean Hannity last night. Sedition is a crime, and shutting down a criminal network on social media is not the same act as silencing legitimate political discourse. More on that later.
Silencing legitimate discourse is what you see in the image below.
This was the third time in as many weeks that I had received a temporary block on Twitter. In the first instance, I had told someone to “die crying about it” and been reported for supposedly making death threats. In the second instance, I had responded in a thread about different ways of smoking marijuana by mentioning the “shotgun” method, and again someone reported the tweet as supposed violence.
Each time, Twitter gave someone a heckler’s veto. Each time, I appealed, and then waited a day or two without response, only to delete the tweet in frustration so I could get back on Twitter.
Which was the point. This is not a genuine appeals process. This is Twitter shutting me up on behalf of people abusing their reporting systems.
Each time I deleted the previous “offending” tweets, Twitter finally got back to me an hour or two later pretending they had reviewed my appeal, and sorry but not sorry, I was guilty of the alleged crime, and any further crimes could result in permanent suspension.
Which is why I am not deleting the above tweet. Ever. Not until after my “appeal” is answered. Let’s see just how long it takes for Jack Dorsey to get back to me.
This is my 12th year on Twitter. Tomorrow will be twelve days since my appeal. I am content to let Jack take the next twelve years to respond.
Every day that passes is further evidence he has chosen a side in a contentious political debate, and systematically shuts down the opposing side.
Consider the above tweet. What is hateful about it? Where is the call to harm anyone? Stephanie Hayden really does have a long, scammy record; indeed, Hayden reminds me of Ali Akbar, founder of #StoptheSteal, who is now going by Ali Alexander.
Hayden’s vexatious abuses of the court system are finally getting some notice from courts in the UK; in 2012, Akbar/Alexander organized a lawsuit aimed at harassing his political enemies in a federal court.
You can see why I find Hayden’s behavior so familiar.
As far as the reference to a prostate goes: this is not “misgendering” Hayden. The tweet makes no reference to anyone’s gender. It is a fact that Stephanie Hayden has a prostate, whatever the pronouns in Stephanie’s Twitter bio say. Moreover, it is not hateful to acknowledge this reality of Stephanie’s biology.
Whereas Stephanie will never need a pap smear, Stephanie will need to have said prostate periodically checked for cancer. Lying about this does not protect Stephanie. Only someone who hated Stephanie Hayden, who actually wanted Stephanie to die, would lie about Stephanie’s prostate.
Perhaps Twitter will continue to disagree with me about prostates. That’s fine. It’s their platform. Sure, Jack has monopolized the microblogging format on a global scale, but it’s still a private concern, not a federal agency for which the First Amendment matters. They can ban me permanently, at any time, for any reason.
What Jack and Twitter cannot do is effectively ban me for the above tweet and then pretend they are preventing harm, or protecting the public, or not taking sides. They are clearly taking a side.
They are choosing a career con artist and abuser of process over that person’s victims.
This is par for the course: by now, I have seen hundreds of gender thoughtcrimes punished with suspension for ridiculous infractions even as “trans activists” go unpunished for threats of rape and physical harm made to women on the platform. Twitter hates women.
The latest in the thread of proof that Twitter discriminates against women on the basis of their sex. https://t.co/HoGxg0iGYN
— Sam Barber (@SamBarber1910) September 23, 2020
I followed many conservative voices on Twitter who, in the wake of last week’s events at the Capitol Dome and the social media consequences which followed, expressed great concern for the First Amendment. Let me say that I share these concerns, however I feel about Donald Trump.
Now, it was probably necessary for the good of the country that his account be suspended, and that calls to violence on Parler were shut down. Ali Akbar/Alexander was also using his Twitter account to promote a violent uprising. That this was what it finally took for Twitter to suspend him could be considered emblematic of their failures.
This is easily the most deleterious aspect of the Trump presidency, is that it has made this very bad thing necessary, opening the door to all manner of abuses in the name of necessity. This is where decades of increasingly shrill hyperbole in echo chambers has brought us: conservatives must worry now about the actual, real, not-imaginary cancellations required to combat the runaway extremism they encouraged.
Meanwhile, Twitter is encouraging another kind of extremism.
There will be consequences for all of us. Despite everything, I still consider myself liberal, even progressive on many issues. It doesn’t matter. “The right side of history” feels empowered to commit crimes now, and the narcissism of small differences will place someone like me among the very first targets of the resulting censorship by an ever-more radical left. Count on it.